Fighting Rent Pricing Collusion That Illegally Raised the Rents of Thousands of District Residents
Dear Fellow Washingtonians,
At the Office of Attorney General (OAG), we use the law to preserve and advocate for affordable housing, protect tenants, and hold abusive and neglectful landlords accountable. This month, we announced our lawsuit against RealPage, a Texas-based technology firm that offers various technology-based services to real estate owners and property managers, and 14 of the District’s largest landlords for colluding to inflate rent prices in rental buildings across our city.
OAG’s lawsuit alleges a sustained and coordinated system by which RealPage colluded with landlords to collect sensitive, proprietary data from landlords with the goal of increasing their revenues. RealPage and District landlords worked in concert to utilize RealPage’s “Revenue Management” software, a centralized pricing algorithm aimed at collectively increasing rental prices across properties in the District. Our lawsuit seeks to stop the anticompetitive behaviors that artificially inflate rent prices for District tenants, appoint a corporate monitor to ensure that RealPage and the landlords do not engage in further anticompetitive behavior, and secure financial compensation for the District and residents of the District whose rents were illegally raised.
At a time when affordable housing in the District is increasingly scarce, OAG is doing everything in its power to fight for fair market conditions to ensure that District residents are protected and that law-abiding businesses are operating on a level playing field.
Brian L. Schwalb
DC Attorney General
Combatting Hate in All Forms
The District of Columbia does not tolerate discrimination or targeted violence against anyone based on their religious beliefs or ethnic identity, and we are committed to using the law to combat hate in all forms.
Since October 7, our community has been rocked by incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia. OAG will not stand by while individuals or communities are subjected to violence and fear tactics aimed at who they are, where they come from, or what they believe.
To report instances of hate crimes or bias-motivated violence, District residents should contact OAG’s Civil Rights Section at OAGCivilRights@dc.gov. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
Protecting District Residents from Predatory Practices
My office recently sued Curbio, a pre-sale home renovation company that allows homeowners to defer payment until their homes are sold, for partaking in a scheme of deception, intimidation, and fraud that traps District residents—especially elders—into unconscionable, financially devastating contracts. Every aspect of Curbio’s business model is dependent on fraud and designed to boost profits by taking advantage of District homeowners.
OAG will continue to use the full force of the law to protect District residents from predatory practices and ensure that homeowners are compensated for the financial harm caused by Curbio. If you are experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation—or know a District senior who is—you should contact OAG’s Civil Rights and Elder Justice Section by phone at (202) 727-3807 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OAG in the Community
This past month, OAG celebrated National Pupusa Day at El Tamarindo, the oldest pupuseria in the District. I also had the privilege of reading with the next generation of thought leaders at Savoy Elementary School and volunteering with Horton’s Kids ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
We’d love to attend an upcoming event for you and your community. To invite OAG to your event, please click here.
Fighting for District Workers
OAG is committed to protecting District workers and will not stand by while companies profit at the expense of their workers or gain an unfair advantage over their competitors by flouting the law. We recently resolved two wage theft cases on behalf of workers:
- UP Fitness, a personal training company, has agreed to pay $450,000 to workers and the District to resolve allegations that the company failed to pay wages owed to trainers and improperly used a commission payment structure. Over $254,000 will go directly to the trainers who were not properly compensated for their work, and UP Fitness has changed its compensation structure as a result of OAG’s investigation.
- 20/20 Vision, a consulting firm, has agreed to pay over $168,000 in restitution to 21 current and former employees and in penalties to the District as part of a wage theft settlement. The settlement resolves allegations that 20/20 Vision violated the District’s wage and hour laws by misclassifying its entire workplace as independent contractors instead of treating them as employees.
Since January, OAG has secured more than $6 million for workers and the District. Confidential tips are a critical part of wage theft investigations—these two investigations stemmed from tips from employees. If you believe a District business is violating workers’ rights, please contact our office by phone at (202) 442-9828 or email at at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enforcing the District’s Ban on Non-Compete Agreements
Since 2022, non-compete agreements have been banned for most District workers. Non-competes limit employees’ ability to work for competing businesses and worker mobility and depress worker wages. Employers may be required to pay harmed workers up to three times the amount of wages they have lost as a result of an illegal non-compete.
This month, we resolved investigations into three employers suspected of violating the ban on non-compete clauses or agreements:
- An OAG investigation uncovered evidence that Accountable Healthcare Staffing, Inc. subjected 10 of its workers to non-compete agreements, violating the District’s ban on non-competes. As a result, the company will change its policies to ensure compliance with District law and will pay over $114,000 to workers in restitution and $10,000 in penalties to the District.
- SPiN DC, a ping pong social club in the District, improperly required three of its managers to sign non-compete agreements. As a result of OAG’s investigation, SPiN will not enforce its non-competes and will pay $15,000 in penalties to the District, as well as $3,000 to the workers who signed illegal non-competes.
- Hissho, which franchises sushi bars and Asian hot food bars in 32 locations across the city, was found to have violated the District’s Antitrust Act and the ban on non-compete agreements by including a “no-poach” clause in its contracts with workers. This clause prevented employees from leaving one fast food franchise to work for another franchise in the same chain. As a result of OAG’s investigation, Hissho will stop enforcing no-poach clauses and will stop including no-poach language in contracts.